Offer sheets in the NHL are few and far between which makes it notable any time one is signed. Rarer still is one that has a player signing for as much above market value as Jesperi Kotkaniemi did when he signed his one-year, $6,100,015 tender from the Hurricanes on Saturday. Here are some notes from around the hockey world on the move.
- Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic mentions (Twitter link) that Carolina and Montreal did have trade talks regarding Kotkaniemi although clearly, they weren’t able to come to an agreement.
- Sportsnet’s Eric Engels writes that Montreal’s decision is a lot harder than the one the Hurricanes had two years ago when the Canadiens tendered an offer sheet to Sebastian Aho. He suggests Arizona’s Christian Dvorak as someone they’d be wise to have discussions about over the one-week matching period to see if some of the draft capital they’d get by not matching could be flipped for him.
- Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports relays (Twitter links) that league executives pegged Kotkaniemi’s actual value on a one-year deal no higher than $2.2MM, providing some perspective on how much of a perceived overpayment this contract is. He adds that the idea to tender Kotkaniemi the offer sheet came from Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, not GM Don Waddell.
- Arpon Basu of The Athletic writes (subscription link) that Montreal’s bigger concern should be that Kotkaniemi, who had spoken about wanting to stay with the Canadiens for the long haul in the past, was willing to go along with the offer sheet. He feels Montreal is in a no-win situation by either needing to pay Kotkaniemi well above market value and potentially messing up their salary structure or losing someone they hoped would be a franchise cornerstone for somewhat of an underwhelming return.
- Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in the latest 31 Thoughts podcast (audio link) that Montreal wasn’t close on a contract with Kotkaniemi’s camp and was focused on a bridge contract which is something the 21-year-old wasn’t interested in. He also believes that Carolina had discussions with Kotkaniemi on the framework of a long-term extension that could be signed once eligible that would come with a price tag below this one. Of course, Kotkaniemi wouldn’t have to agree to that knowing that he’ll need to be qualified at $6.1MM next summer.
- While Carolina would technically be over the salary cap if the Canadiens don’t match, Sara Civian of The Athletic suggests (subscription link) that it may not be too difficult for them to get back under by clearing out the remaining two years at $4MM on defenseman Jake Gardiner’s contract. Considering he has cleared waivers before, they’d likely need to provide some retention on that contract to make a trade work.